Learner Centered Instructional Strategies: A Crash Course

Delane Ingalls Vanada, Dean Adams


Many students entering the university today are deficient in the 21st century skills of creative problem solving, effective oral and written communication, and critical thinking. In 2011, only 36 percent of college students demonstrated significant gains in critical thinking, analytic reasoning or written communication in four years of college, as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment (Arum & Roksa, 2011). The research tells us that if faculty want to prepare students’ abilities as creative, analytical, problem solvers who can communicate effectively in an increasingly global world, collaborate well with others, and apply concepts across disciplines to solve complex problems, then they must rely less on lecturing as their major form of teaching. This chapter illustrates the alternatives to traditional college lecturing (e.g. project-based learning, design thinking, team-based strategies, “flipped” classrooms) and how the focus on student-centered learning and redesigned learning environments results in more independent, life-long learners.

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